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20 December 2012

Steeles Law’s Tax Litigation Team scores another notable success against HMRC

On behalf of a corporate client, Steeles Law’s Tax Litigation Team has recently secured the withdrawal by HMRC of an assessment of VAT in excess of £230,000.

During the summer of 2011, our client received an assessment of Value Added Tax in relation to the import and subsequent export of products to and from the United Kingdom. The assessment related to VAT which HMRC alleged was due from 104 imports and 58 subsequent exports.

Following the assessment by HMRC, our client sought a review and employed its corporate accountants to assist it with making representations to HMRC.

In the autumn of 2011, a review officer of HMRC confirmed the assessment and demands for payment in excess of £230,000 were issued to the client. As a result of the assessment, the client ceased trading.

Following confirmation of the assessment, having searched for law firms with relevant experience, the Team was instructed to assist.

Within one month of the review decision, the Team had reviewed the client’s position, considered the reasons behind the assessment and HMRC’s review officer’s findings in relation to it, and filed a detailed appeal against the assessment.

In addition to filing the grounds of appeal, the Team was able to secure a certificate of hardship from HMRC to enable the appeal to proceed without prior payment of the assessed VAT.

The grounds of appeal cited, amongst other things, our client’s eligibility for Onward Supply Relief, a discretionary ground for HMRC to waive VAT under the Value Added Tax Act 1994, and the unreasonableness of HMRC’s position in light of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Upon consideration of the appeal by HMRC’s Solicitors’ Office, HMRC has recently withdrawn the review decision and the assessment.

Ian Robotham, Associate in the Team and the fee earner with the lead role in this particular case comments:

“This really is a fantastic result for this corporate client. In light the Team’s prompt actions we have secured the complete withdrawal of an assessment of nearly a quarter of a million pounds incorrectly levied against our client.

“The assessment led to the client having to cease trading unless and until the assessment was withdrawn or successfully appealed. Thankfully, I can say that after our representations, the assessment was withdrawn by HMRC. The hope is that the client can now recommence trading.”

At Steeles Law, our Tax Litigation team continues to act for a wide range of clients in disputes with HMRC. We are experienced in acting for individuals, sole traders, partnerships and limited companies in disputes relating to the different types of tax. We have also represented clients in the different venues which can hear tax disputes, from the First Tier Tax Chamber to the High Court.

If you need any assistance with a tax dispute, please contact us.